Society Says, ‘Ladies Don’t Talk About Hair Loss’ — I Want To Change That

Dr. Sophia Kogan, MD, is co-founder and chief medical advisor at Nutrafol. As part of an ongoing effort to raise the conversation around women’s hair loss, Dr. Kogan is sharing her perspective on societal taboos that prevent women from taking control of their hair health. 

Forty percent of American women experience hair loss — but it’s still a “taboo” topic. Why do you think that is?

DR. SOPHIA KOGAN, MD: For the last however many years of this patriarchal society, we’ve had most of our research done on men. Not long ago, most physicians were all men. And we have this pressure to ‘be a lady’ and not talk about certain things, like our hair falling out. Being a lady means we have to look a certain way to the public. As women, we are conditioned to such a degree that when we look in the mirror, we might not even want to acknowledge our hair changes to ourselves, let alone bring it up with a physician or friend. It’s too painful. 

It’s that thing of, What does hair mean to us? Does it make us a woman? Of course not, because there are plenty of women who are bald and beautiful. But to society, yes, hair is a sign of femininity. So when you start to lose it, you may feel a loss of your femininity.

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How do we break that conditioning to ‘be a lady’ so we can have a more open conversation about women’s hair loss?

DR. KOGAN: Awareness. We aren’t told that we might lose our hair at some point because it’s just not something that women talk about. I’ve experienced it myself where I was too ashamed to even bring it up. I would rather have covered it up so it’s not visible even to myself.  

Having gone through it, I know the emotions that hair thinning brings up in women. There is this barrier of hearing unwanted or undesired news. You don’t always want to be told you’re losing your hair or be shown the truth. But I think once you do see it, it’s much more empowering to take control of it than to live in denial and shame.

“We have this pressure to 'be a lady' and not talk about
certain things, like our hair falling out.”

Did you feel a loss of femininity or struggle with shame and denial when your hair was thinning?

DR. KOGAN: I put my femininity to the side. That’s actually something that happens a lot to women in that state. I remember looking at my hair and thinking, This sucks. But I always downplayed it because I didn’t want to acknowledge it to myself. Then it got so bad that I even thought about getting hair transplants. My hair thinning was due to chronic stress. I was a medical resident living off canned tuna and working 100 hours a week, sleeping poorly… the training was very rigorous and my body was just depleted. I put my hair on the back burner.

Does the societal stigma affect how women’s hair loss is researched, studied, and diagnosed within the medical community?

DR. KOGAN: The research on women’s hair loss has been lagging, but it’s definitely on the rise now. For instance, the statistics on hair loss among men are higher than in women, but I actually think that they’re probably closer to equal because women are less likely to report their hair loss — because of the stigma. I also think women’s hair loss might not be taken as seriously because it can be very subtle. Just because you don’t have a bald spot doesn’t mean you aren’t thinning. 

"I want it to become a non-taboo conversation, because the
more that people know, the more that they can take control."

Why is it important to you, as a woman and a woman in science, to be a part of this conversation?

DR. KOGAN: I personally like to speak about hair loss more boldly and shout it from the rooftops, because a part of me is just really feminist and I want to be able to say things as they are. You know, like, why can men talk about it and we can’t? I want it to become a non-taboo conversation, because the more that people know, the more that they can take control.

How do we make women’s hair loss a non-taboo topic?

DR. KOGAN: As a society, we’re finally seeing a shift in power dynamics. And I think at this cusp point, you’re going to find those conversation leaders who are saying, ‘F*ck this. This is my body. I’m going to talk about whatever I want.’ For example, period underwear ads. You would never see those ads in the subway even 10 years ago; it was taboo. Back then all I saw on the subway were ads for enlarging your boobs. So we’re at the brink. For us at Nutrafol, it’s important that we are one of those conversation leaders who make it OK for women to talk about hair thinning.

Nutrafol has two hair wellness supplements for women: Nutrafol Women and Nutrafol Women’s Balance. Who is Women’s Balance for?

DR. KOGAN: We specifically formulated Women’s Balance for women going through menopause — before, during, and after. What happens is estrogen and progesterone levels decline very suddenly while androgen hormones (testosterone) decrease, but also linger. So we have more saw palmetto in the product, specifically to target those androgen hormones, as well as a beautiful adaptogen called maca to naturally balance sex hormones as they decrease. We also added astaxanthin, because as we age, our antioxidant capacity to fight oxidative stress from the environment, cells, DNA, and things like that really decreases. So we want to boost that capacity.

What does hair wellness mean to you?

DR. KOGAN: You know, I come from Russia, Soviet Russia, and there’s nothing in our culture that is indulgent or self-care-related. But hair wellness is a simple act of self-care. It’s something you do to improve. At Nutrafol, we’re all about how you can support yourself from overall wellness to hair wellness. This is not just hair. We are in the business of building a community that welcomes you in and connects you with support. No one has to suffer in silence.

What It Means To Be A Woman With Male Pattern Hair Loss

As part of an ongoing effort to raise the conversation around women’s hair thinning and empower women to take charge of their hair health, our team of experts and physician partners are sharing their knowledge to arm women with the facts. This week, we’re exploring male pattern hair loss among women — and why it has nothing to do with femininity. 

As a woman, it can be confusing to be told you have “male pattern hair loss.” 

The first thing you should know about this diagnosis is that it has absolutely zero to do with femininity. So if you’re feeling ashamed or less than — show those feelings the door. 

Fact: Male and female pattern hair loss are not gender-specific. Both male and female patterns of hair loss revolve around hair thinning, loss, and shortening; the microscopic changes observed in the hair follicles of both patterns are nearly identical. In male pattern hair loss, thinning begins at the hairline and temples and recedes slowly backwards. In female pattern hair loss, the midline part of the hair may become wider, but hair loss is general and dispersed over the crown of the head, preserving the hairline. When dermatologists diagnose either, they’re simply going by the visible pattern of where your hair was lost. That’s it!;

What causes male and female pattern hair loss?

It would actually be more appropriate to call male pattern hair loss “androgenic hair loss,” because this pattern could depend on a man or woman’s higher production or sensitivity to a form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a hormone classified as an androgen.  

While androgens do play a role in female pattern hair loss, this pattern has also been observed in individuals who have either a total lack of sensitivity to androgens or no androgens circulating at all. And you can’t blame something that isn’t there, right? While the exact causes of female pattern hair loss have yet to be confirmed, research suspects a decrease in hair growth-promoting levels of hormones like estrogen are involved, which may explain this pattern’s increased prevalence following menopause. 

Why there’s nothing “un-feminine” about male pattern hair loss

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Androgen hormones like testosterone are commonly referred to as “male” hormones, but this is reductive of the very normal presence they play in every woman’s biology. We commonly forget this, as well as the fact that “female” hormones such as estrogens, progesterones, LH and FSH are important for men, too. 

Androgens are essential for mediating or directly influencing physiological actions of the body and contributing to women’s cardiovascular, sexual, cognitive, and musculoskeletal health. Since testosterone plays such a normal, significant role in a woman’s daily life, there’s nothing un-feminine about a dysfunction relating to this hormone having an impact on your hair. The label has nothing to do with your femininity. It’s just an imprecise term coined to demonstrate the type of hormone to blame for where your particular hair loss is arising from.

While the term male pattern hair loss may give the illusion of being gender-specific, it’s not in the least. It’s simply an ill-defined name for a condition that occurs more commonly in men. If you’re a woman labeled with this pattern, know that your association simply comes from what your pattern of hair loss looks like.

The power to take control

As human beings, our hormone levels may vary, but we all share the same ones. Having androgen-associated hair loss has nothing to do with your femininity. It simply means you may need a different treatment approach to address your root cause than a woman dealing with female pattern hair loss. Either way, you have the power to take control and support your hair with the vital nutrients it needs to grow. 

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
DR. TESS MARSHALL, ND

on June 23, 2020

The Top 5 Nutrients For Hair Growth During Menopause

As part of an ongoing effort to raise the conversation around women’s hair thinning and empower women to take charge of their hair health, our team of experts and physician partners are sharing their knowledge to arm you with the facts. This week is all about the right balance of diet and supplementation to support hair through menopause. 

Menopause is a unique chapter of life. Beginning as early as a woman’s 40s, it brings a slew of hormonal changes that can affect everything from sleep to mood to hair.

Particularly for hair, lower levels of estrogen and progesterone that occur during menopause can cause natural changes that increase the effects of DHT (a hormone involved in miniaturizing the hair follicle) and starve hair follicles of vital nutrients necessary for hair growth. But with the right blend of diet and supplementation, you can feed your hair exactly what it needs to grow through menopause. 

Below, we’re highlighting the top five nutrients for healthy hair growth during menopause, as well as the best foods to get them from. On top of making changes to your diet, a supplement like Nutrafol Women’s Balance is a good way to get all of these nutrients (and more!) to take control of hair health through menopause.

Vitamin D

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Vitamin D’s role in keeping our bodies in balance extends all the way to hair health. This vital nutrient helps to lower the inflammatory response, support a healthy immune system, and aid in blood sugar balance. When these three things fall out of harmony, a number of health issues, including compromised hair growth, can occur. Vitamin D also helps the body properly absorb other important nutrients — such as zinc, selenium, iron, and calcium — that influence hair health. 

Where to get it: Vitamin D can be found in foods such as salmon and other oily fish, mushrooms, fortified animal and plant milks, pork (especially chops) and eggs.

Vitamin C

A potent antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect the cells of our body from the damage of oxidative stress. This is especially important as we age and our internal levels of oxidative stress increase. Collagen, which is crucial for strengthening and supporting our hair follicles, can be damaged by this stress. This is doubly impactful to hair during menopause, when our ability to produce collagen and respond effectively to oxidative stress naturally decreases. Vitamin C helps us produce collagen and assists in fighting off cell-damaging stressors. Vitamin C has also been found to have a significant effect on decreasing sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone connected to slowing down hair production and regrowth

Where to get it: The best foods for vitamin C include guava, kiwi, bell peppers, tomato, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, kale, and oranges.

Collagen

Nutrafol sources its hydrolyzed collagen from the scales of North Atlantic cod.

We now know that natural collagen production decreases as we reach menopausal age, but it’s even more impacted by menopause itself. This is partially due to declining estrogen, which normally works hard to protect and enhance production of skin-supportive substances like collagen. With less collagen being made, many menopausal women report sudden skin aging. This decrease in collagen can also impact scalp repair, along with repair of blood vessels, which are essential for delivering nutrients to hair follicles.

When choosing a collagen supplement, studies show that hydrolyzed collagen (which has been partially broken down from its whole form) is easier for our bodies to absorb. Hydrolyzed collagen has also been shown to improve skin hydration, elasticity, firmness, and texture in women of menopausal age when taken consistently, especially with other supportive nutrients.

Where to get it: Foods that contain collagen include bone broth, salmon, and eggs. As collagen sources in food are fewer, Nutrafol Women’s Balance is a great way to get this nutrient. The hydrolyzed collagen used in Nutrafol is bioavailable (aka, more easily absorbed) and sustainably sourced from the scales of North Atlantic cod.

Iodine

Thyroid dysfunction is a common issue for women in general, but even more so when we reach the time of postmenopause. Iodine and thyroid health go hand-in-hand, as iodine helps control thyroid function and is essential to making our thyroid hormones. Too little iodine has the power to stop thyroid hormone production in its tracks, creating a dramatic impact on metabolism, mood, energy, and hair growth. 

When it comes to hair health, balanced thyroid hormones are needed to send hair follicles the signal to grow — and stay growing. Issues with thyroid hormones are commonly associated with hair thinning and brittleness. Thyroid health deserves extra attention as we reach menopause because, with age, both iodine collection efficiency and the amount of thyroid hormones our bodies create go down. To keep our thyroid functioning at its best, getting adequate amounts of iodine (150 mg per day for adult women) is recommended.

Where to get it: Iodine-containing foods include seaweed, navy beans, saltwater fish, seaweed, lima beans, cow’s milk, cheese, and eggs. 

Zinc

Impacting everything from DNA synthesis to the all-important collagen production, zinc helps keep the hair growth cycle functioning at its best. When zinc is low, oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA damage can all increase — which is why zinc is so essential during menopause, a time when the body is already facing increased oxidative stressors and producing less collagen. Zinc plays a role in hair health by turning food into fuel for the hair growth cycle. Additionally, adequate levels of zinc are crucial for stimulating hair building. Low levels of zinc can hamper hair growth, leading to whitening of the hair and increased hair shedding

Where to get it: A number of zinc-rich foods can be brought into your diet, including oysters, meat, lentils, hemp seeds, lentils, oatmeal, and shiitake mushrooms. Daily intake of zinc should not exceed 40 mg unless directed by a physician. You can get an effective dose of 25 mg of zinc by taking Nutrafol Women’s Balance.

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
DR. TESS MARSHALL, ND

on June 18, 2020

Stress & Hair Thinning: How Today’s Environment Affects Hair

Stress is a leading cause of hair thinning — and the effects of the stress we feel today can show up in our hair within three to six months.

“Our hair can be a manifestation of what is happening internally. When we are experiencing stress, it affects our whole body and can contribute to chronic conditions, including hair thinning,” notes Dr. Sophia Kogan, MD, co-founder and chief medical advisor at Nutrafol

In the midst of a global pandemic, we’re dealing with the effects of both acute and chronic stress. Dr. Kogan explains that acute stress is “on the spot,” like the stress we all felt at the onset of COVID-19. But as micro-stressors from our “new normal” stack up, “it becomes more of a chronic picture,” she says. All the while, your body is grasping for resources to maintain homeostasis. Hair, unfortunately, isn’t a top priority for the body, so its resources are diverted — and that’s why many of us may notice more hair in the shower or on our clothes than usual. 

Below, Dr. Kogan dives deep on the connection between today’s stress and hair thinning, as well as her favorite adaptogenic herbs and lifestyle practices to support hair wellness in times of stress.

How is today’s stress different from normal everyday stress?

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DR. KOGAN: Stress is a response to danger. The body is wired in a way that it responds to danger with specific mechanisms that we’ve developed since prehistoric times. For example, if a lion chases you, you have a fight or flight response. Especially in the U.S. and other developed countries, we don’t usually see life-threatening dangers — our stress is often chronic and cumulative. However, right now we’re going through a pandemic and we actually have legitimate fear for life. So this is one of those fight or flight times.

“The impact of the event everyone is experiencing right now may show up as hair thinning in three to six months.”

Why do we shed hair during stressful times like this?

DR. KOGAN: When the body feels stress, it will pull resources internally for survival. Hair is important to us, but it’s not the number one organ to the body. As we experience elevations in stress, the hormone cortisol signals the hair follicle to stop growing and to prematurely shed. Additionally, the body diverts nutrients away from the hair follicle to other key areas of the body during stress, leaving the hair without essential nutrients it needs to build hair.

How long does it take for today’s stress to impact hair?

KOGAN: When stress levels increase during major life events, a large group of hair follicles can prematurely shift into telogen, a phase of the hair growth cycle when hair can no longer grow and is preparing to fall out. The impact of the event everyone is experiencing right now may show up as hair thinning in three to six months. 

How does Nutrafol target stress as a root cause of hair thinning?

KOGAN: Nutrafol targets stress with the stress adaptogen ashwagandha, which has been shown in clinical studies to balance elevated cortisol levels in chronically stressed adults. Stress adaptogens work two ways: They help lower cortisol levels to a healthy state and they help moderate your adaptation response to stressful events. The idea isn’t to get rid of stress, the idea is to adapt. And that’s why I love adaptogens so much.

“The idea isn’t to get rid of stress, the idea is to adapt.”

What’s your advice for staying calm in this stressful environment?

KOGAN: You want to tap into those things that bring back a sense of normalcy. It’s different for every person — what brings you joy, what makes you lighter. For you it might be putting makeup on, for me it might be dancing, but it makes you feel normal. I think that it’s really important to find hobbies or interests that are going to take you out of panic mode. 

Are there any lifestyle practices to help control stress?

KOGAN: Meditation and yoga have been shown to physically decrease levels of stress hormones and the activation of your sympathetic nervous system, which is that fight or flight response. So if you’ve never meditated before, this might be the time to start. It doesn’t have to be perfect; just a few minutes a day. That meditation can also come in the form of hobbies or whatever makes you feel relaxed and calm. 

What can we do at a dietary level to nurture hair in times of stress?

KOGAN: It’s really important to keep a good nutritional balance, because stress tends to deplete your nutrients. Look for foods and supplements with zinc, magnesium, biotin, fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. You need a range of nutritional support for yourself. The organs that make stress hormones are adrenals and they sit on top of your kidneys. When adrenals are depleted, they need extra nutritional support. Protein is also important here.  

How are you supporting your hair and health right now?

KOGAN: Just recently I started making new teas to support myself. And of course I’m taking my Nutrafol and eating healthy and ensuring that what I put into my body is organic. Right now I’m starting to cook more and next I want to get into gardening and growing my own herbs and food. 

To read Dr. Sophia’s personal story on stress-related hair thinning, click here.

Rachel Zoe Opens Up About Postpartum Hair Thinning

As part of an ongoing effort to raise the conversation around women’s hair thinning and empower women to take charge of their hair health, we’re talking to women in the spotlight about all things hair. Below, stylist and fashion designer Rachel Zoe shares her experience with postpartum hair thinning while being in the public eye.

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Rachel Zoe is a multi-hypenate powerhouse — designer, stylist, CEO, fashion icon, reality star, wife, mom… the list goes on. 

But no matter how many titles are under your name, when you notice changes in your hair, it feels like your body is turning against you and you’re losing control. “I don’t think I realized how much of a physical and emotional effect hair thinning would have on me,” said Zoe in a candid Instagram video. “It really took a toll on me because I had to keep showing up on red carpets and getting my hair and makeup done, and I just remember feeling so insecure about my hair … I don’t know why as women we’re so afraid to talk about it. So many, if not all, of my friends have [experienced it].” 

To break the stigma around women’s hair thinning and empower others to take control, Zoe is sharing her hair story and encouraging fans to do the same under the Instagram hashtag #HairStrongAsYou. She’s also starting a Nutrafol hair journey that fans can follow along with on her Instagram. 

Below, the busy mom and mogul talks to Nutrafol about postpartum hair thinning, the strong women who inspire her, and building confidence from within. 

First of all, your hair is iconic. What are the most and least favorite hairstyles you’ve had?

RACHEL ZOE: I would say anything I did to my hair in the ‘80s would count as my least favorite. I had giant, curly hair and used so much hairspray like everyone did back then. My favorite hairstyle is probably my go-to look, which is air-dried hair and loose waves that I use a curling wand to create. 

Zoe prefers looser, beachy curls these days.

How has your relationship with your hair evolved over the years?

RACHEL: I have always had a devoted relationship with my hair. I have used it as a security blanket throughout my life and relied on it so much for my overall confidence. When I was 13 years old, I had a bob haircut and I’ve had various versions of extra long hair since then. As I got older, I didn’t often change my hairstyle, but always wanted to feel like I had a lot of it. I never had issues with my hair until after my son Skyler was born, and then again after Kaius was born.

When did you realize your hair was thinning?

RACHEL: I think the first time I really noticed my hair thinning was when I was blowing out my hair and it took me significantly less time for my whole head to be dry. I remember gathering my dried hair into a ponytail and just feeling the difference in thickness in my hands. That’s when I realized that postpartum hormonal hair thinning and weakening is a real thing. 

Did you tell anyone about it?

RACHEL: I definitely told my sister, Pamela, because she’s my best friend and biggest cheerleader who’s there for me through all of life’s ups and downs. I also told my long time hairdresser and friend, Joey [Malouff]. Joey has been doing my hair for years, so it was important that I talked through it with him so that he could help me feel my best even though my confidence was shaken.   

Rachel Zoe with son Kaius, mother Leslie, and sister Pamela.

Speaking of confidence, you once said, “Confidence is more important than clothes.” What’s your advice for women struggling with hair and self-esteem?

RACHEL: I think the best piece of advice is to just be honest about it. It helped me so much once I began sharing my story and telling my girlfriends about it, because they had gone through it also. Hair is so universally important to women — just knowing you’re not alone can really help. I would also say be proactive about it! Try using Nutrafol and know that you are doing something every day to improve your overall hair health. 

I want all women to feel empowered to share their hair story and to understand they are not alone — and that choosing to take control is a decision that will make you feel good.

Who are the strong women who’ve influenced and inspired you?

RACHEL: My mother has always been an incredible role model for me in every way. She definitely helped shape my view of fashion and style and never left the house without lipstick on. I feel fortunate to also have a great group of supportive girlfriends. My biggest creative inspiration comes from favorite decades in fashion which are the ‘60s and ‘70s. I love Jane Birkin, Bianca Jagger, Cher, and so many others. They are my forever fashion muses.

You work with the best hairstylists and experts in the world — and you have great hair. What’s the best hair tip you’ve learned?

RACHEL: Limiting the amount of heat and stress you put on your hair really helps. Lately I wash my hair only a few times a week, deep condition always, and have been letting my hair air-dry to achieve that beachy look. So far I’ve seen such an improvement in my hair texture and shine. 

You’ve also started a Nutrafol hair journey. Congratulations! How have you added Nutrafol to your routine?

RACHEL: Typically I take my Nutrafol in the morning with breakfast. My boys are a great reminder in the morning because they beg me for their vitamin gummies, so I’ll take my Nutrafol then.

Lastly, as a mom and a role model to so many women, how would you like to see beauty standards for hair change?

RACHEL: I think the beauty standards for hair are the same as any ‘standard’ in that they ultimately hold you back or limit your confidence. I would like other women to know that postpartum hair thinning happens to a lot of us. We shouldn’t feel held back by it but rather be proactive. I want all women to feel empowered to share their hair story and to understand they are not alone — and that choosing to take control is a decision that will make you feel good. The more women share their hair stories, the more comfortable the conversation can be.

I Treat Hair Thinning Every Day — Here’s What Women Should Know

As part of an ongoing effort to raise the conversation around women’s hair thinning and empower women to take charge of their hair health, our team of experts and physician partners are sharing their knowledge to arm women with the facts. This week, Dr. Omer Ibrahim, MD, addresses the hair thinning topics women ask him about every day.

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Hair thinning is a common issue that affects 40% of American women, but knowing what to do when it happens to you is not as common. 

“Why is this happening to me?” “How do I stop my hair from shedding?” We often go to Google for these answers, but the best source of information is from physicians like Dr. Omer Ibrahim, MD, a board-certified dermatologist who has done extensive research in the field of hair thinning and treatment. “The first thing I tell my patients is that [hair thinning] is very common and it happens to women of all walks of life … It’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” he said in a recent television appearance. 

At his downtown practice, Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology, Dr. Ibrahim recommends hair growth treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in combination with a supplement like Nutrafol. “Especially for those patients that want to avoid hormonal treatments, Nutrafol is a good natural option,” he noted.  

Below, Dr. Ibrahim dives into the hair health topics women ask him about every day.

The road to growth. 

Consider this: The complete hair growth cycle spans between two and seven years. There is no magic pill to make your hair grow overnight. “Treating hair thinning, especially genetic thinning, is a lifelong commitment that requires expert care, consistency, and patience,” said Dr. Ibrahim. 

But how long does it take to see improvement? In one randomized study, women suffering from hair thinning experienced an increase in hair count and volume, noting improved hair growth after six months of using Nutrafol Women

The biotin myth. 

“Biotin is but a fraction of what it takes to treat hair thinning,” said Dr. Ibrahim, “and it’s shown limited success when used on its own. You must address proper nutrition, stress levels, inflammatory cytokines, vascular circulation, and hormones.” Put simply: Most of us have more than one root cause contributing to our hair thinning, so we need a multi-targeted solution. Biotin alone is not a silver bullet. However, in clinical trials where biotin was used in combination with other vitamins and botanical extracts (as it is in Nutrafol), there have been positive results.

Heat tools and overstyling.

Dr. Ibraham emphasizes that regularly using heat tools or undergoing harsh styling treatments can make your hair dry and prone to breakage and other damage. “This can include blow-drying too frequently, bleaching, perming, chemical straighteners, and wearing hairstyles that pull or break the hair,” he notes. Just limiting heat styling to a few times a week and avoiding extremely tight hairstyles and chemicals can make all the difference in the health of your hair.

Taking control.

“Is it too late to treat my hair thinning?” Dr. Ibrahim says this is one of the questions he gets most frequently in his practice. “For the majority of patients, the answer is no,” he said. “Lots of factors play into how much your hair will improve with treatment, and it never hurts to try.” 

Dr. Ibrahim encourages patients to take control and explore treatment options no matter where they are in life, because hair thinning can happen to women at all ages and stages. In fact, hair thinning becomes even more common in women as they approach menopause. Women also ask him if stopping and restarting on the path to hair health will hurt their hair in the long run. To this, he said, “Absolutely not. You will always be better off having addressed your hair thinning than not.”

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
DR. TESS MARSHALL, ND

on June 9, 2020

This 55-Year-Old Model Has The Most Enviable Hair On Instagram

As part of an ongoing effort to raise the conversation around women’s hair health and empower women to take charge, we’re talking to women in the spotlight about all things hair. This week, we got the powerful perspective of “embrace the gray” muse Caroline Labouchere. 

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Thanks to unapologetic women like Caroline Labouchere, going gray is a power move. And a glamorous one, to boot. 

“I stand out and I am used to being different. I own it — shoulders back, standing tall, feeling regal,” says Labouchere, who describes herself as a “55-year-old gray ambassador” in her Instagram bio. The mom of two decided to take up modeling at age 54 and within no time her career was minted in the pages of British Vogue and her Instagram eclipsed 140,000 fans. Clearly she is a force with superheroine hair — and we want to know all of her secrets. 

Below, the Dubai-based model and social media muse talks gray hair care, daily wellness rituals, and how she’s taken control of her hair health with Nutrafol

What is your relationship to your hair?

CAROLINE LABOUCHERE: My hair has been many colors, but I have never been as proud of it as I am now. The shades of gray are glorious and they start conversations. My silver tones gave me a new career and made me feel brave for the first time in my life.

“Embrace the gray” has become a social media movement to celebrate magical hair like yours. What does that term mean to you?

CAROLINE: First, take your friends with you! You shouldn’t go it alone on the gray journey. Second, be sure you are ready. There are plenty of shortcuts, so make sure you elicit good advice wherever you can. Ask the world for help on social media, as well as from fellow gray-hair tribe members and professional hairdressers!

My hair is long and strong, and while I try to get all my nutrition from my diet, I see Nutrafol as an insurance policy.

You live a very balanced and healthy lifestyle to support your hair and skin. What are your morning wellness rituals?

CAROLINE: For wellness and energy, I run two to six miles every day. This is my thinking time. I wake up naturally to first light from 5:30 to 6 am and run in the early morning, as I like to avoid direct sunlight for both my skin and hair health. My second ritual is coffee.

Why did you choose Nutrafol for your hair wellness?

CAROLINE: I started taking Nutrafol at the beginning of the year because I wanted the best for my hair. My hair is long and strong, and while I try to get all my nutrition from my diet, I see Nutrafol as an insurance policy — prevention rather than cure. I love to see the baby hairs growing around my face like a halo.

I have never been as proud of [my hair] as I am now.

How do you remember to take your Nutrafol every day?

CAROLINE: I keep my pill organizer near my workstation to remind me to take my Women’s Balance with breakfast or lunch. 

What’s your best model hair tip for looking glamorous in a hurry?

CAROLINE: If I leave the house with damp hair, I tie it into a twisted tight bun. When I let it down later, it’s smooth, soft, and wavy. 

How has Nutrafol helped you take control of your hair wellness?  

CAROLINE: Nutrafol makes me feel in control of my hair wellness as there is no chance that my hair doesn’t get what it needs, whatever else is going on in my life. By using Nutrafol, I know that I am doing the best I can for healthy hair.

Suzanne’s Hair Story: How I Took Control With Nutrafol

“I’m happy with my hair today … I feel like I’m going back in time, like I’m getting something back that I lost.”

A music director, model, and mom, Suzanne realized her hair was thinning when it was literally surrounding her — on her shower walls, on her clothes, in her car. 

The shedding started in her early fifties, as she was experiencing peri-menopause and just several years after she embraced her beautiful gray hair. Unlike the change in her hair color, the shift from thick, wavy tresses to noticeable hair thinning took a toll on her confidence. “Day to day, getting dressed, no matter what I was wearing, it didn’t really matter, I wasn’t presenting myself the best and that was due to my hair,” she shared. 

Having had great hair her entire life up until menopause, Suzanne’s view of hair care was mostly external — she paid attention to her shampoo and tried to resist heat styling and chemical hairsprays. It wasn’t until she found Nutrafol that she adopted a more holistic approach to growing her hair from within. 

Keep scrolling to read Suzanne’s journey to hair wellness.

“My hair was shedding all over the place.”

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My hair used to be very thick, but over the years it’s thinned out. At about 50 years old, I started noticing a change — my hair was shedding all over the place. When you’re younger, you may have a strand or two on your back, but this was everywhere. Starting with my shower in the morning, I would just pull hair out and it was all over the shower walls. My hair brushes got so filled with hair that I had to clean them out every day. People would get in my car and say, “Oh, you have a dog?” And I was like, “No, that’s my hair.”

For me, when my hair was thinning, it took away from anything else that I thought was positive about how I looked. The makeup, the clothes, the shoes — they didn’t matter. My hair wasn’t right and it would make me think, Should I put a hat on? Should I wear my hair in a ponytail? And that was really difficult because I was also going through menopause and there were so many things happening to my body.  

One of the most difficult experiences during menopause was my lack of sleep, not falling asleep but staying asleep. I would wake up burning hot with night sweats.

“As women, we don’t really talk about hair thinning.” 

I would look in the mirror and I was a bit surprised. I thought, I’m looking older. My hair is changing. And although at 50 we want to embrace the change, sometimes we’re not quite ready. As women, we don’t really want to talk about hair thinning, even though so many of us are going through it. 

When you look at the media, women of age, women with gray hair, it’s not about embracing our age, it’s about, “How can we hide this?” It’s about youth. Men are “silver foxes,” but there’s no term for women. It’s just, “she’s gray.”  

If you’re walking down the street and you see a man that’s balding, he’s handsome and distinguished, but that’s not the case for women. People see a woman with a widening part or thinning hair and they tell her, “You may want to put a hat on or wear your hair differently, because we can see some of your scalp.” The stigma for women is that we’re aging and we need to hide that. And there’s a multitude of products out there that will help us hide it — not help us fix the problem, but hide it. 

In this day and age, we want everything sudden and immediate, but that’s not always the best for us. Before finding Nutrafol, I wasn’t aware of any natural hair growth supplements that actually worked.

“I noticed a change after three months.”

I really wanted to make that decision to treat my hair from the inside out. Especially in my younger years, I didn’t think too deeply about my hair. I thought that taking care of my hair was just a little less blow-drying and straightening. But with Nutrafol, I’ve learned that it’s all about what happens from within. 

After taking Nutrafol Women’s Balance for approximately three months, I noticed changes in my hair. It was not only fuller, but there was a shine that I hadn’t seen in a long time. I’m getting the thickness back to my hair and it’s thinning less. I feel like I’m going back in time, like I’m getting something back that I lost. People say to me, “Wow, you look different.”

I’ve seen such a great change not only in my hair, but my sleep has improved, too. I wasn’t aware that stress and lack of sleep could cause my hair to thin. The ingredients in Nutrafol, specifically maca and ashwagandha, have helped me tremendously to decrease the night sweats, sleep through the night, and wake up refreshed. 

I’m happy with my hair today. The growth that I’m seeing and the changes in my hair give me more opportunities to style it in different ways. I just feel free. 

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
DR. TESS MARSHALL, ND

on May 28, 2020

The 9 Biggest Myths About Women’s Hair Thinning

As part of an ongoing effort to raise the conversation around women’s hair thinning and empower women to take charge of their hair health, our team of experts and physician partners are sharing their knowledge to arm women with the facts. This week, they’re busting the most prevailing and pernicious myths surrounding women’s hair thinning. 

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Myth 1: Hair thinning doesn’t affect that many women. 

While the stats on different types of hair loss vary, hair thinning affects 40% of women by age 40. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 30 million women in the U.S. have experienced thinning hair. Some experts believe these statistics are underestimated because women are less likely to report hair thinning, due to societal stigma, and because of the way our hair thinning can be less apparent. “Women’s hair thinning might not be taken as seriously because it can be very subtle. Just because you don’t have a bald spot doesn’t mean you aren’t thinning,” says Nutrafol co-founder and chief medical advisor Dr. Sophia Kogan, MD.

Myth 2: You don’t have to worry about it when you’re young. 

It’s true that women over 40 experience hair thinning at a higher rate, but factors like stress and overstyling are leading causes of thinning among those in their twenties and thirties. Female pattern hair thinning can technically begin at any point during the reproductive years, with severe cases even noted during puberty. Different types of hair thinning, such as androgenic alopecia and telogen effluvium, have been recognized to occur as early as adolescence. 

Myth 3: It only happens around your hairline.

Hair thinning is an issue that can present itself in a variety of ways. In androgenic (aka “male pattern,” which affects both women and men) hair thinning, sparsity commonly begins at the hairline and temples. But telogen effluvium (or stress-related) hair thinning shows up more diffusely throughout the scalp. In female pattern hair thinning, the midline or part of your hair can become notably wider and is accompanied by generalized thinning, but typically the hairline is left well preserved.

Myth 4: Solving for one root cause will fix it.

Hair thinning is more complicated than that. Research shows that a number of things need to be in sync to keep your hair happy and growing — from getting the green light from your hormones to keep things moving to ensuring your hair follicles are getting all the right nutrients. This means that hair growth curveballs can come from multiple mechanisms, all of which have to be balanced and appeased to support growth. Some of the potential root causes of hair growth issues include: cortisol spikes from stress, hormone imbalances, environmental aggressors, metabolic change, and poor nutrition. With multiple factors contributing to your hair health, a multi-targeted approach is the best game plan for success.

Myth 5: If your mother has thinning hair, you will, too. 

Yes, genetics come into play with certain types of hair thinning, such as androgenic alopecia. And yes, both men and women with a family history are more predisposed to thinning hair. But no, your genetics do not completely dictate your hair’s fate. “I always say it’s genetics and environment. Genetics will load the gun and environment pulls the trigger,” notes Dr. Kogan. Genetics simply point to your body’s inherited way of responding to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone responsible for shrinking the hair follicle. This could mean you’re more sensitive to its presence, or that your body is extra keen on increasing its production. Saw palmetto, a key ingredient in Nutrafol, has been clinically shown to help lower conversion of testosterone into DHT.

Myth 6: Hair care products will fix it. 

Depending on what’s in your hair care products, they may actually be stressing out your hair follicles rather than helping them. From your shampoo to your styling products, toxic ingredients can impact the hair growth cycle by increasing inflammation and affecting hormones. Ingredients to avoid include phthalates, parabens, and dioxane, which have all been linked to immune and hormone dysfunction. Some shampoos even contain formaldehydes, which have been found to damage DNA. Damaged DNA means the signals that make your hair grow normally can become skewed. By reading ingredients labels and not overwashing (try going two or more days between washes), you can limit the impact that overstyling has on your hair. 

Myth 7: Wearing hats or ponytails causes hair thinning.

While hats can make an outfit, they’re not as influential on your hair health. Overwhelmingly, research points to internal factors, including hormones, stress, and nutrition, as the culprits of hair thinning. With hairstyles, a form of hair thinning called traction alopecia can occur from persistent pulling on the hair follicles — but this type of hair thinning is primarily linked to constrictive braids and glued-on hair extensions rather than your everyday topknot or baseball cap. In fact, wearing a hat can protect your scalp from damaging UV rays.

Myth 8: Dyeing your hair causes thinning.

Coloring your hair can cause damage. However, if done thoughtfully, and with gentle product choices, damage can be kept to a minimum. Once again, it’s all about the ingredients: common hair dye chemicals like hydrogen peroxide can be harsh on your strands, hair follicles, and the skin they live in. When talking to your hairstylist, ask about natural, organic hair dyes that are free of hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, ethanolamines, or paraphenylenediamine (PPD).

Myth 9: There’s nothing you can do about it. 

As the science of hair growth continues to expand, so does our understanding of how to support it. In one randomized study, women suffering from hair thinning experienced an increase in their hair count and volume, noting new hair growth after six months of using Nutrafol Women. This study offered novel insight into the idea that a multi-factorial approach to hair growth can be an important solution to the issue of hair thinning — and it certainly asserts that women have the power to take control after hair thinning starts.

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
DR. TESS MARSHALL, ND

on May 22, 2020

Talking Hair After 40 With The Hosts Of ‘Everything Is Fine’

As part of an ongoing effort to raise the conversation around women’s hair thinning and empower women to take charge of their hair health, we’re talking to women in the spotlight about all things hair. This week, we got the always honest and often hilarious perspectives of Kim France and Tally Abecassis, hosts of the podcast “Everything Is Fine.” 

Contrary to the majority of what we see on Instagram, magazine covers, and Hollywood red carpets, women over 40 do actually exist. 

And they don’t just play the mom character or grace the covers of Vogue’s “age issue.” They’re running companies. They’re looking for love on Bumble. They’re mentoring the next generation of women leaders. They’re handing you your ass on the Peloton leaderboard. And they’re doing it all while crossing major life passages like menopause and “embracing the gray.”  

Here to give them the relatable touchstone they deserve — and that’s so sorely missing from the media landscape — are editor Kim France and documentary filmmaker Tally Abecassis, hosts of the “Everything is Fine” podcast. “We started the podcast because we wanted an honest, unflinching forum to talk about all that being over 40 is about — the good, the bad, and the ugly,” says France, the founding editor of Lucky magazine and creator of the blog “Girls of a Certain Age.”

The duo hold nothing back on episodes like “Menopause Doesn’t Have to Suck,” “The Power of Being Pissed Off,” and, our personal favorite, “Going Gray is a Power Move.” Especially while we’re spending more time at home, “Everything Is Fine” is the unfiltered, insightful conversation we’ve been missing. 

Below, we talk to Kim and Tally about the evolution of their hair — from embracing their natural texture to the emotional effects of hair thinning to the powerful feeling of taking control.

How would you describe your relationship to your hair?

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KIM FRANCE: I’ve always been convinced I have “bad” hair — frizzy and coarse. I grew up in Texas, where humidity is very high, and had to learn that certain trendy haircuts were just not going to work for me. So I’d call my relationship to my hair adversarial.

TALLY ABECASSIS: I have had a love-hate relationship with my hair my whole life. It’s very curly and, of course, I always wanted it to be straight. I spent years trying to bend it to my will, but now that it’s grown long it’s less curly and I like it better.

Have you ever dealt with hair thinning?

KIM: Yes, my hair thinned quite severely in my late thirties. It made me feel awful. I took control by going to a doctor to make sure it wasn’t caused by anything more serious, took biotin, tried every possible fix. In the end, I got extensions.

TALLY: Not yet, but I expect to as my mom had thin hair, which got thinner as she got older.

EIF co-host Tally Abecassis describes this shirt as a "big mood," and we agree.

A woman is taught from a young age that hair is her crowning glory. When it starts to thin, it can be upsetting and identity-shaking. Like menopause, it's something women don't tend to discuss with their daughters, which is where the taboo comes from, I think.
—Kim France

Why do you think women focus on hiding hair thinning with extensions and hair powders rather than addressing the root causes from within?

KIM: Because it’s easier. I think it’s really that simple. And because we’re convinced that nothing else will work.

TALLY: Sometimes a Band-Aid solution just seems like the easiest approach.

You have a great episode on menopause, which is a time when hair thinning is extremely common. What is your advice to women who are dealing with changes in their hair during, well, “the change”?

KIM: There are few things as demoralizing as having your hair thin. Do what you can to make sure your hair is getting the nutrients it needs — Nutrafol is an excellent choice here — and rethink your haircut. Long hair is pretty, but not so flattering when it’s thin.

Why do you think women’s hair thinning is a taboo topic when so many women (30 million in the U.S. alone) go through it?

KIM: A woman is taught from a young age that hair is her crowning glory. When it starts to thin, it can be upsetting and identity-shaking. Like menopause, it’s something women don’t tend to discuss with their daughters, which is where the taboo comes from, I think.

TALLY: There are taboos around so many topics related to women’s bodies — menstruation, menopause, even fertility and body hair. It feels like the patriarchy at work. 

EIF is described as: "A podcast for women over 40. All the stuff nobody talks about."

What are some changes you’d like to see the media and society make to break the stigma around women’s hair thinning?

TALLY: It’s tiring to feel that women are constantly being shamed about what happens with our bodies, so we would love to see an open conversation about it.

How has your hair care routine evolved since your twenties and thirties?

TALLY: I used to use a flat-iron on my whole head pretty regularly. Now I just use it to make sure my bangs stay flat. Also, I used to think that every time I went for a haircut, I had to change styles. Now I know what looks good on me. 

KIM: It’s more involved and I spend more money on it!

What hair care rituals do you enjoy as forms of self-care?

KIM: I have a Dyson blow-dryer, which was a crazy splurge, but it dries my hair in half the time and almost makes blow-drying fun!

TALLY: I love getting a haircut because I just love the shampoo part of the process. It’s the ultimate relaxation to have that deep scalp massage.

What’s one piece of hair advice you want to share with every woman?

KIM: Your hair is not your identity.

TALLY: The grass isn’t always greener. We all think everyone else’s hair is better and that’s just not true.